Keith Urban was honored at a party at a local Nashville hotspot to celebrate the success of his recent No. 1 hit, “Long Hot Summer,” along with his co-writer and friend Richard Marx and producer Dann Huff. The two singer-songwriters revealed that writing “Long Hot Summer” was more than just putting words to music; it was actually a testament to their friendship. “We had an ‘issue’ with each other and I learned a lot about the importance of friendship,” says Keith. “[The song] wasn’t born of a quota to write a song. It was born of a want for us to reconnect, and the song was a by-product of that desire.” While they had to reschedule the party a couple of times, the celebration was very important to both of them. “This is important,” says Richard. “I love this guy, and this song is a great testament to our friendship.”
A special moment came near the end of the fete when Keith pulled a couple of young adults up on stage to perform “Long Hot Summer,” along with him and Richard. He combed through tons of YouTube videos to find two talented aspiring musicians and fly them to Nashville to join him for the party. Patrick Woolam, who fronts his own band in Kansas City, was featured on lead vocals, while Leslie Strong, from Hazard, Kentucky, showcased her talents on the guitar and matched Keith lick for lick. The two didn’t appear nervous at all in front of an industry crowd made up of publishers, producers, songwriters and label executives, and in fact, seemed like they belonged on stage.
This was the pair’s third hit song they wrote together. Their first, “Better Life,” went to No. 1 in 2004, while “Everybody” hit the Top 5 in 2007.
- Keith’s current single, “You Gonna Fly,” is sitting in the Top 5 of the country charts.
AUDIO: Keith Urban talks about why “Long Hot Summer” was more than just a song for both him and Richard Marx.
Keith Urban (#1 party for Summer) OC: …that desire. :52
RICHARD “This was a very special No. 1 song for me, and for personal reasons between me and Keith and…” KEITH: “Tell ‘em. Tell ‘em.” RICHARD: “It’s nobody’s business.” KEITH: “No, but we’d had an ‘issue’ with each other, that’s all I’m gonna say, and I learned a lot about the importance of friendship. This guy was so incredibly gracious and good, and I learned a lot about what it takes to be a good friend. And I wanted to really make it up to Richard, and show him that our friendship really means something to me. And so, I said, ‘Please, I really want to write together again. We should really do that.’ We talked about it for a long time, and we eventually did. And I’m so glad that we got to not only write the so0ng, but for the song to take us to this point…It wasn’t born of a quota to write a song. It was born of a want for us to reconnect, and the song was a by-product of that desire.”
AUDIO: Richrd Marx talks about how special “Long Hot Summer” is to him.
Richard Marx (Summer #1 party) OC: …friendship. :30
“I hear such great joy in this particular song. I love this song. I freakin’ love this song! They’re all special for their own reasons, but this one’s really kind of fun to [celebrate], and it’s why we’ve really been actively, there’s been a couple of times because of his surgery, etc. that we weren’t going to do a celebration. We were maybe going to go out to dinner next time I was in Nashville or something. It became sort of like this unspoken, this is important, because it’s really like, you know, I love this guy, and this song is a great testament to our friendship.”
AUDIO: Patrick Woolam recalls how he got the news he was going to perform with Keith Urban.
Patrick Woolam (Keith) OC: …just amazing. :39
“My drummer was in contact with him first. They asked for my name, and he called me and said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And I said, ‘Yeah,’ and that usually means something bad. He said, ‘Well, you’re going to be singing with Keith Urban next Wednesday.’ And so I told him, ‘Why don’t you call me back when you’re done messing around with me?’ So, I hung up the phone on him, and he texted me, and he said, ‘Here’s the number. You just call this lady, and she’ll take care of you and you’ll see that it’s real.’ So, it’s just been an incredible opportunity, and I’m so excited to be a part of this and I’m just enjoying every moment of this…and Keith is just a phenomenal person. I mean, just talk about a stand-up guy. To have this happen and have him put in the time and effort to do this is just amazing.”
AUDIO: Leslie Strong, who smoked the guitar parts on ‘Long Hot Summer’ with Keith Urban at his No. 1 party, says she wasn’t nervous at all to play with one of the best guitarists around.
Leslie Strong (not nervous) OC: …cool gig, you know? [laughs] :05
“There should’ve been, but no. I don’t know why. It’s a cool gig, you know? [laughs]”